Student information

Msc thesis subject: Greening Cities and Ticks

City ticks: The biodiversity benefits and health risks of urban greening

Urban greening – the promotion of vegetation in cities – is an increasingly embraced strategy to improve the quality of life and ecosystem services in cities [1]. A possible side effect of urban greening is the colonization of cities by parasites and pathogens associated to wildlife, which may affect public health. Urban greening attract birds and mammals, which can host and disperse pathogens that cause infectious diseases in humans. For this thesis, the focus is on mapping the presence and diversity of current urban greening in larger cities like Amsterdam. This urban green will be related to the presence of parasites and their hosts in order to analyse whether the prevalence of for example the Lyme disease can be spatially related to the presence of urban greening as will be possible by a monitoring system [3]. Main focus and the challenge that lies in this thesis is the mapping of the urban green, its presence, diversity and quality. This involves amongst others detection of larger green city parks and their internal structures, green rooftops and individual trees as well as shrubs in backyards [2]. A methodology will need to be developed and applied to Amsterdam, to detect urban green and identify the characteristics of the green structures, using any kind of location-based data (geodata, rs, photos, accounts, etc.).


  • Development of an efficient methodology to detect and map urban green, using available and accessible location based data


[1], [2]


Data – a study to collect available, accessible geodata and obtainable geodata (by remote sensing and landsurveying) on different spatial scales

  • Boomregister., (2016). Productbeschrijving. Consulted on October 27th 2016, from:
  • Davids, L., (2013). Using LiDAR in combination with aerial photographs to model and discriminate green small landscape elements. Consulted on February 9th, from:
  • Kabisch, N., Strohbach, M., Haase, D., & Kronenberg, J. (2016). Urban green space availability in European cities. Ecological Indicators, 70, 586-596.

Data analysing – analysis of collected data to describe variables like greening structure, texture, quality and their temporal variability taking into consideration spatial scales. Such methods are based on using image classification and recognition, point cloud analysis, topologic and geometric analysis.

  • Alonzo, M., Bookhagen, B. & Roberts, D.A., (2014). Urban tree species mapping using hyperspectral and lidar data fusion. Remote sensing of Environment. Volume 148, Pages 70-83.
  • De La Barrera, F., Reyes-Paecke, S., & Banzhaf, E. (2016). Indicators for green spaces in contrasting urban settings. Ecological Indicators, 62, 212-219.
  • Fina, S., Krehl, A., Siedentop, S., Taubenböck, H., & Wurm, M. (2014). Getting Closer! New Ways of Integrating Geodata, Statistics and Remote Sensing to Analyze and Visualize Urban Structures Using Density Surfaces and -Profiles. Raumforschung und Raumordnung, 72(3), 179-194. doi: 10.1007/s13147-014-0279-6

Data integration – integration to define greening processes and patterns in space and time.

  • Goddard, M. A., Dougill, A. J., & Benton, T. G. (2010). Scaling up from gardens: biodiversity conservation in urban environments. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 25(2), 90–98.
  • Gupta, K., Roy, A., Luthra, K., & Maithani, S. (2016). GIS based analysis for assessing the accessibility at hierarchical levels of urban green spaces. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 18, 198-211.
    Herold, M., Scepan, J., & Clarke, K. C. (2002). The use of remote sensing and landscape metrics to describe structures and changes in urban land uses. Environment and Planning A, 34(8), 1443–1458.
  • Keeley, M. (2011). The Green Area Ratio: an urban site sustainability metric. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 54(7), 937-958. doi: 10.1080/09640568.2010.547681 Pont, M. B., & Haupt, P. (2010). Spacematrix: Space, Density, and Urban Form.
  • NAi. Uuemaa, E., Antrop, M., Roosaare, J., Marja, R., & Mander, Ü. (2009). Landscape metrics and indices: an overview of their use in landscape research. Living Reviews in Landscape Research, 3(1), 1–28.


  • The ideal candidate is familiar with GIS analysis as well as with remote sensing techniques, interested to combine both competences in order to apply the strength of both in this project and has affiliation with city greens.

Theme(s): Sensing & measuring; Modelling & visualisation